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>> rose: welcome to the broadcast. the president released the country's annual economic report yesterday and we'll hear about it from christina romer, chair of the council of economic advisors. >> when we came into office to just, you know, i remember one of the first thing i was asked to do was to brief the president's early in december when it was november 2008 jobs numbers came out. and we just learned how many jobs we had lost that month. and you know, i remember saying mr. president, i'm so sorry. and he said it's not your fault yet. but that was, you know. >> when did it become your fault. >> well, you know t became our fault i guess the day we took office. >> we con kud with historian gary wills, his book is bomb power. >> pie argument is that this whole commender in chief mystique has grown-up because of the mill tarization of america, around the president.
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the perfect example of that is when the president gets off a helicopter or plane now, people salute him. marines salute him. >> rose: command never chief. >> he salutes back. that never occurred until ronald reagan. eisenhower didn't have that. you know, the president is not a military office. >> rose: romer and wills coming up. ♪ ♪ if you've had a coke in the last 20 years, ( screams ) you've had a hand in giving college scholarships... and support to thousands of our nation's... most promising students. ♪ ( coca-cola 5-note mnemonic )
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> christina romer is here, she chair of the council of economic advisors, she served as one of the president's top economic advisors, she has helped craft measures to combat the recession including the 787 billion dollar stimulus program and a jobs bill now under consideration by the congress. yesterday her office released the president's annual economic report that predicts a gradual recovery. the unemployment rate is expected to stay near 10% for the rest of this year before falling to 9.2% next year and then 8.2% in 2012 when the president may be runing for re-election.
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overall growth is expected to be about 3% this year before jumping to 4.3% for the following two years, to talk about all this, i am very pleased to have at this table christina romer, welcome. the economic report of the president transmited to the congress february 2010 together with the annual report of the council of economic advisors. what can be done to change that prediction of unemployment numbers over the next two years. >> i think a lot. i think you know, when we did that forecast we had certainly a place holder in the budget to do some kind of a targeted jobs measures. but we were really very early in the process. and i for one think you know some kind of a hiring tax credit that we've been talking about like the small business, jobs and wages tax credit. i think that could be something that could move the dial, you know, the way i see it is you see gdp growing, you see a lot of firms seeing their demand go
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up, productivity is going through the ruff. the question is what do we get to get them to take that next step and actually hair somebody. and that's where we think a tax credit like we've talked about or that is being talked about in the house and the senate could be just what you need to get them over that hump. >> because of the deficit questions and because of the politics it of it, is a second stimulus bill simply off the table? >> well, what we are talking about are targeted measures. whether they get put together in one bill or a number of bills, i think what matters is that we actually do something. because we do know as effective as the policies that we have put in place have been, the unemployment rate is still 9.7%. and you've got to do something. and i think the particular legislative vehicle, i think that's something for the political expert. >> is it 9.7% in terms of the most recent numbers. >> right. >> what do you expect did to be in the first quarter of 2010 though? >> i think that's everybody-- . >> rose: still a 9. or a little bit higher. >> we have an economic report rbts don't be surprised if it goes up
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some. >> rose: exactly, that's my point, you expect it will go up. >> again there is a lot of uncertainty. we know a lot of people when the unemployment rate gets high drop out of the labor force. it's actually a good sign if we start to add jobs, if people start to come back in, that means they are hopeful and looking for work again. but that does certainly temporarily get you a blip up in the unemployment rate. >> rose: in 2010 you expect to see 90,000 per month. >> 95. >> rose: 95. and in 2011, 190,000. >> uh-huh. >> rose: when you look at jobs creation, the perception is that if the administration had focused more on that, we might be looking at a different unemployment number, that that was where the laser-like ferocity should have been. >> can i tell you the laser like ferocity was there. i mean i can tell you that every time i tell the president anything i tell him gdp, i tell him retail sales. he says tell me about jobs.
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and that has been, you know, we are took the recovery act very fast. that was a sign of factly how important we thought it was. that wasn't the end, right, over the summer we did clash for clunkers. we've done extensions of the first-time home buyers credit. we've been constantly thinking about what do you do about housing. constantly trying to say what more could be done. that is what any good policymaker does and what we started talking about this fall is what more needs to be done on jobs. so that has been the focus. >> which begs this question too. you take some pride and everybody in the administration does in the 787 billion stimulus program. help me understand who wrote that and what was the impact and the input of the administration on the stimulus bill that came out of the congress. >> we had a lot of influence. i mean we certainly-- . >> rose: you got what you wanted. so if you look at the stimulus bill this is what you wanted. it is not some con kontion of congress that went against your wishes. >> do you ever get exactly
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what you want, of course not. we certainly consulted a lot with congress. you know, the whole idea is how do you get this through. this right now-- . >> rose: it is policy. >> it seems like it was easy but that is the biggest, boldest fiscal stimulus in american history and even as bad as things were, it was a struggle to get that through. but we certainly, you know-- y you. >> rose: you didn't just hand it off to the house democrats and dep crats in the senate and say create a stimulus program, give us what you think we ought too have. >> no, and what people take as saying it's kind of this, you know, mixture of all these things, there is a logic to that. we don't know exactly how a tax cut affects the economy, how spending affects. there is a lot of uncertainty. things work differently in different times. and so it was explicitly let's have a big chunk of it be tax cuts but a big chunk be spending. a big chunk be aid to the states. that was something we certainly felt. >> could it have been created to add more jobs quicker? and what was the restriction
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on doing that? >> i think it was a very balanced package. you could have, perhaps, done you know more state fiscal relief earlier. there is the question of, you know, you are constantly saying you want to spend minute but you want to do it well. you want to make sure that it has the biggest impact. and i think one of the things that you run up against is just how quickly can you do it effectively. and sos that wayne gretzky that we certainly thought about. but i'll come back, you know, a sign of how it fits sort of the president's vision, one of the things we talked about in the economic report is some $90 billion of that $787 is in the clean energy sphere, that has been a priority of his. that served one of his signature issues, what he feels very passionately. that's sort of the jobs of the future. and the fact that you know working with congress, there are lots of investments in that area, jump-starting that transition. i think it's really important. >> let me just make sure i understand too what the president's opinion is about three things.
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the extension of unemployment benefits. >> it's absolutely essential it is, we know it's the difference often between destitution and hanging on for families. we know it is also good for the rest of the economy because when you give people especially those that are in such difficult situations money, they spend it. and that helps their neighbors. that helps the local businesses. >> and the whole issue of the tax breaks. >> the one that expire at the end of 2010. >> you know what the president has said is he doesn't think we can afford to renew the ones for the very highest income earners. >> $250,000 or more. >> you will see in our budget we let expire the rest of them we have extended. >> has the administration somehow said whatever we do we need to fashion in terms of what we say and what we do, this focus on the middle class in america. >> i think what we talk about in the book, there is also the one group in the united states that has had a
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really rough time. we have a picture showing median family income that you know we're used to it going up generation after generation. leveled off, actually went down some in the last ten years. that does, you know, if you ask why did the president run for president it was before the economic crisis but he was running on economic issues about stagnating middle class income. about the fact we weren't investing enough in our kids and their future. we weren't doing enough on innovation or clean energy. and so that certainly has been a priority. but i think if you say what's the one word that comes out of my mouth it's jobs. >> jobs, jobs, jobs. >> as many times as you want me to say it. >> rose: let's talk about growth and gdp. >> uh-huh. normally coming out of a recession this severe you would have much more rapid growth. >> rose: right. >> so normally would you be thinking six, seven percent, and so part of that three percent forecast for next year is a sign that we do think this is a particularly hard recession, different recession, a lot of headwind. >> different because.
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>> because it was caused by a financial crisis, something by far the norm is a recession caused by monetary. >> and generally, the recession, the real economy, and the financial economy follows, i think, are you the economist, not me. this was different. >> this was different. >> lead by the financial sector. >> it was. a typical recession in the u.s. has been caused by the fed tightening to bring inflation down. what that meant is as soon as inflation was down, we knew how to end it. the fed just loosened again and the economy came back. this time it was caused in the financial sector. the fed pretty quickly got interest rates to zero. >> when dow, based on what the chairman of the fed mr. bernanke said recently, when do you expect him to begin or the fed to begin feeling like in order to combat inflation they have to do something. >> you know. >> rose: about raising the cost of money. >> i think the fed has made it very clear they don't think that that time is any time soon if you read their statements. they are very careful to say it is certainly a ways off. i think what chairman
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bernanke was doing was talking about a plan. and how, when it's time will the fed be able to drain reserves so people have the confidence to know that if they get worried, they can, you know, take the reserves out of the system so you don't have inflation. i like to draw the analogy t is very much what the president is doing with his budget, at the same time that he is saying we need to do some more energy spending to create jobs, sort of those targeted measures, we need to put in place a plan for as we come back to full employment, how do we deal with the budget deficit. that is exactly what he is talking about with the fiscal commission, the nondiscretion-- or the discretionary spending freeze, those are all sort of part of the plan pore when we are through this thing. >> most people think that this is recovery is a bit off in terms of getting back to where we might want to be. an when they say that, i am interested in what do they mean in terms of unemployment, in terms of gdp, in terms of this, this conflict between a deficit
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and a-- a deficit on the one hand and a need to create jobs on the other. >> the crucial thing is there is no conflict between the deficit and job creation. they go together. because if you don't get your unemployment rate down there's no way you get your deficit down, right. people aren't paying taxes. >> exactly. >> and so a very sinceable strategy. >> on the other hand if you have a huge deficit you are paying alot more to interest rates too. >> again one of the things we talk about is you know, the kind of one-time spending that we are doing with the recovery act, with even the targeted measures we're talking about, that adds just a trivial amount to the long run deficit where. is that long run deficit comes from t is from those big tax cuts in the previous administration that weren't paid for. it's coming from health care spending and a social security spending as you go out 20, 30 years. and so making progress on those, i think, is going to be crucial. >> but is there a new normal as they say to use that little cute phrase? >> it's a good question. i think you know, the
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world's going to -- >> i think in terms of growth, in terms of unemployment. i think we request hope to go back too much what was the historical norm. i think that there is-- . >> rose: so america hasn't lost its economic juice. >> i think certainly not. if you think about how we are investing in america with things like the recovery act and the smart grid and all those things, i think that helps to restore the joouses juice. >> rose: when you look at the economy, and this is in here too, what happened in our previous economy is clearly we borrows a lot of money. and we did not export enough. what i hear you saying is for this economy to achieve what a maximumization of its potential you got to have a lot more exports but you have to be creating things people want to buy. and two, you have got to have much smarter investment and at some point you got to borrow less money. >> absolutely. that's, we call the
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rebalancing theme. >> okay, exactly. so how do you do those three things. >> so you know, as we again, as we come out of the recession, there is going to be, it is going to be a different world. i think we will get back to sort of the same fundamentals in terms of unemployment, gdp but the composition will be different. we do feel households are probably going to be saving more. because they've been through a pretty big shock. thef's seen their wealth go down. we do suspect that they are not going to go back to the credit frenzy that we might have seen in the early 2,000. we are going to have-- so that's going to be, we have the government borrowing less, probably households borrowing less. so one of the things that is going to do. you asked me earlier about so when is the fed going to need to raise interest rates. well, if the government is saving more, if households are saving more, that fends to put downward pressure on interest rates so that is one of the-- that is part of the economy's natural meck civil for stimulating investment and stimulating even exports. and so that will be part of it. but there is certainly a role for government. something like exports.
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for a firm there is often a fixed cost. are you used to producing in the united states that first time you export to china or to britain or somewhere, it's hard, right. so there is a role. a legitimate role for government to say can we make it easier, can we, you know, have counselors tell you how to do it, can we have offices in foreign countries, that can be helpful. >> rose: why don't you sign trade agreements with. >> that is something we talk about in the book. no, i think is important. the fact that it is in the book is i think a way of saying that is something the president has started talking about again. >> rose: is he really? i mean he's prepared to say you know, this is what i believe in. and i am prepared to meet the political op six to sign these trade agreements that have-- that will benefit our economy. >> yeah, i think what he certainly said is that is something that he thinks is a good idea. >> rose: but he keeps delaying it. why shouldn't he act on that immediately. >> i think you might have noticed there is quite a bit going on these days. >> rose: yes, i did. >> i think if you think about financial regulatory
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reform, jobs billss, health care. >> rose: financial regulatory reforms. >> it is so incredibly essential that we get reg reform. the idea that, you know, we have been through this unbelievable crisis. and you know, what frustrates me is that you know, how quickly memories fade. i remember how scary it was that fall when our financial system was melting down. >> tell me what you remember most that scared you the most. >> just to think that you know, just this whole markets disappear. >> rose: financial system that we know might crash. >> that you know, it not for some of the very, you know, creative and brave actions of chairman bernanke and the fed to just say if the private sector isn't doing commercial paper, well, i guess the fed will buy it, right. so it is amazing that, you know, we think of this incredibly sophisticated system. but it ground to a halt and we have simply got to put in place the rules of the road that will protect us for the
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next 80 years like they did back in the great depression. >> if i listen to the president, i listen to you, and i listen to the other economic advisors, we stopped a disaster from happening. >> yeah. >> and does at some point you get a chance to begin to shift the gears to do all those things that you need to do once you stop the slide. >> yes. and i think that's the thing that frustrates me, right. it's not enough to stop the slide. that's crucial, that's important. and then you say and 9.7% unemployment is a lot better than it could have been. but it's still-- . >> rose: it could have gone to 5 and that he was in a previous administration. >> right. >> rose: if they had not been able to. >> it just, that is why i say that fall was very scary. and when we came into office to just, i remember one of the first things i was asked to do is to brief the president early in december when it was november 2008 jobs numbers came out. and we just learned how many jobs we had lost that month. and you know, i remember
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saying mr. president, i'm so sorry. and he said it's not your fault, yet. but that was, you know-- . >> rose: when does it become your fault. >> well, it became our fault i guess the day we took office. and certainly but no, i think, you know, but to not, you can't possibly rest when the unemployment rate is 9.7. that, you know, we're glad that the trajectory seems to have changed but we absolutely, the american people are waiting and needing us to do more to get that unemployment rate down. >> and they hold you accountable in a political way. >> well, they should. we've got to do it. >> rose: exactly. so you may have in your hands the re-election of the president if he decides to run. >> there is also this huge fiscal deficit we have, 1.3 trillion, what is the number are for 2009, 1.3. >> and what dow expect it to be in 2010. >> i think it is a little
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bit smaller than that but still up there. >> is the conventional thinking that's manageable, manageable but the long-term deficit we face because of medicare, medicaid, social security, this structural deficit that looms large is not manageable unless we take some huge decisions about revenue and spending? and investment. >> what is certainly true, we know, you know, go back to world war ii. we talked about that. of course you can run big budget deficits for a while then there is a need to do so. and especially are you a country like the united states. there is nobody as creditworthy as we are, right. and so you know, that certainly is not at all a problem in the short run. but what you do when you look out, whether it is the cbo, whether is our study, whether it is omb, we all know that as you look out ten years, 20 years, if you don't slow the growth rate of health-care costs, if you
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don't make the tough decisions, it does, you know, you just can't do it. and that's why policymakers need to say right now what changes do we make so we don't get there. >> is that a tool that you have lost in the deficit, what you believe that your health-care reform proposal would bring to the deficit fight? >> yeah, i think just first to go back, if you think about the health-care bills that they were coming through the house and the senate, you know there is a place where the president excerted some very important leadership. and i remember making some really tough decisions like in his joint sessions speech to congress talking about that excise tax on high priced insurance plans as something that you know was hard for him. he knew a lot of people were owesed-- opposed but he was convinced by the experts that it would help to slow the growth rate of costs. and i think what impressed me the most is it sort of both those bills had a lot of exactly the cost containment measures that every expert will tell you we need to put in place. you know, so, i think the important thing is we have
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gotten this close. i think people just have to realize how crucial it is. if all you cared about was the deficit that was the right thing to do. and then of course add in the insecurity that so many americans feel about their health care, uninsured americans, it's an incredible win. >> how do you rebut the argument that is frequently made in the political climate today and especially when you look at some of the poll numbers. you simply try to do too much. >> i was so impressed when the president has to think about more than one thing at a time. what do we do within a month of coming into office, we passed the american recovery and reinvestment act. what do we do within two months. we had a comprehensive financial stability plan with the stress test of the 19 major financial institutions it. within four months we had a housing plan in placement we had lending programs in place. we had small business programs in place. that was absolutely the priority. i can tell you we met so many hours a day exactly talking about what do we do
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for this economy in crisis. and then of course to have, you know, as we come through that, other teams working on health care and energy. those are you know, i think what the president always said is we are an economy in crisis but also with longer run challenges. >> those that we have been talking about. >> exactly. and coming through better than before. >> how about tarp money. have we spent it all and now we may get some of it back now because when the dust is settled they will pay it back. >> no, we've got certainly, you know, a big chunk of it still sitting it at the treasury that hasn't gone out. >> why is that? >> because they don't need it, because the financial sect their was intended for has gotten up on its feet based on what it has already received. >> absolutely. and you know it was always, you know, if you think about it in a world that is on the edge of a financial crisis, you want to make sure you've got some ammunition sitting there. it was a very helpful thing to know you had it if things
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got worse. >> of the money that was sent out, how much do you think will come back. >> that is what i said. i think probably about all but 100 billion, that is kind of what we think. >> most of that went to aig or somewhere else. >> aig money coming back. >> some of it, no doubt. we put a lot into auto companies. >> rose: 50%. >> i think we will have to see. some of the tarp money we put into the housing program so that is one we don't expect to get back. we wanted to in fact spend that. but that is why when the president announced his fee on the big financial sector, that was to make sure taxpayers aren't out a dime so whatever we lost on tarp, that was what that fee was going to recoup that is about 100 billion over ten years. >> rose: what is the next bubble. >> i think if we have our way there won't be one. that's exactly, you know, when the president talks about, when we talk about rebillioning-- balancing, his whole idea is let's not
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go through another bubble and bust. that's why, you know, reg reform, financial regulatory reform doesn't sound like, you know, a fun thing to talk about. but it's essential, right. because we want to make sure that you don't go back to the incredibly easy, perhaps not very reasonable credit practices. that give rise to bubbles. >> rose: so you are all behind what is called now the rules in terms of what financial reform ought to be. >> that certainly a piece of it. i think everyone says it is probably not the biggest piece. >> rose: what is the biggest piece. >> the making sure you have a way to deal with big financial institutions that get into trouble. >> rose: is this to big to fail, was it, for the record what is the administration doing that you think addresses that problem, which part of the financial regulatory. >> all right, so there are a couple of pieces. one is certainly to make sure everybody has a regulator so that is a
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comprehensive regulation. capital requirements to have differential capital requirements. the bigger you are, the more interconnected you are. i think that is certainly going to be very important. and making sure you have what is called resolution authority. making sure that if somebody gets in trouble you have a way to wind them down safely. >> rose: so people in wall street are a little bit excited and up set about this. because they made this argument, you know, chairman volker wants to separate proprietary trading from deposit banks. though some of the people opposed to that say it was not proprietary trading that got us in the trouble we are. so don't get so exercised about that. >> i think there is a part, there is some truth to that. i mean it's not probably the main thing that went wrong. i think what chairman, former chairman volker would say it's just not a smart thing. that if you've got depository
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institutions that are getting a guarantee, some subsidy from the government, they shouldn't be turning around and you know, trading on their own behalf. i think it is a sensible rule it is a piece of it but it probably not the most important piece but it a sensible thing to do. but i think a lot of the other things, making sure there is a regulator, making sure there are good capital requirements, i think all of that is, you know, is much more important than making sure that we can resolve a big bank if it get not as trouble or big financial institution. >> this is in here too. what you consider, i think it is 66 or 70%, an appropriate level of debt to gdp. >> it's not clear. there is no such thing as what is the right level. i think what we say is we talked earlier about what is the target for the deficit, to gdp ratio. that is about 3%. and what that translates into is you probably would stabilize the debt to gdp ratio at between 65 and 70.
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what we say is that is clearly in the realm of, you know, what other healthy countries doment you know, we know japan is a fair amount higher than that, belgium is higher than that. it's higher than we've had historically. >> britain and france is lower. >> yeah, but it definitely, i think it's in the range where, you know, that is something that is sustainable, the people will say that you know, that's not something to worry about. we could, you know, that's an interim target that is if we get the deficit down to 3% of gdp, that's where we would stabilize. we can then, that would be a great thing to do to make that kind of progress. then we can talk about do you want to go further. >> do you think the congress and the united states has made the optimal decisions for this economy? >> they have made some important decisions, again, i told you, the recovery act was not the slam-dunk you might have thought. when we came in, the-- how big it would be, you know, they were pushed to make it
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bigger than i think was comfortable, what people were thinking about. you know, i think for the health of the economy, health care is incredibly important. and that's why, you know, we've talked before. i'm desperate that they made progress on that. because they were so close and it is so important for 9, you know, not just for people but for the health of the economy. >> it's great to have you on this broadcast. >> it's great to be with you. >> rose: thank you very much. all right, christina romer, chair of the council of economic advisors for the president of the united states. this is the economic report of the president transmitted to the congress. there is this one paragraph that i will read before we go. for growtho be truly sustainable for a prosperity to be truly shared, our living standards to actually rise, we need to move beyond an economy that is fueled by budget deficits and consumer demand. in other words, in order to create jobs and raise income for the middle class over the long run, we need to export more and borrow less from the world. and we need to save more
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money and take on less debt here at home. bake in a moment. stay with us. as the countdown to the academy award continues we bring you another oscar moment. >> it was crucial to have him say that this person, because ray in every aspect of his life, he was involved with everything. every aspect of the music, every aspect of his business. so meeting him, it was pins and needles. and he said well, you know, sit down and play, man, if you can play the blues, man, you can do anything. and so we went straight to the music. as we are playing i'm mirroring what he's doing. and then he plays this they will onuous monk-- whatever it was. and i couldn't get it. and then i saw the real ray charles, come on t is underneath your fingers shall he was a little agitated. so i was gathering information right there and when i finally got the lick,
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he said kid's got it. >> rose: gary wills is his here, a professor of history emeritus at northwestern university, his books include lincoln at gettysburg, what jesus meant and head and heart. his latest considers how the atomic bomb transforms our country down to its deepest constitutional roots, bomb power, the national presidency and the national security state. i'm pleased to have garry wills back at this table, welcome. >> good to be here. >> rose: it really is an interesting idea. the atomic bomb developed out of the manhattan project changed, and to your mind shook its constitutional roots. >> to this day, yes. you know, after, in all of our wars we have had emergency powers that suspended parts of the constitution. but after the wars with over, after the emergency ended.
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the emergency powers went away. the emergency never went away after world war two because we ended that with a great big secret, the bomb. that we had to keep. we had to protect. we had to deploy. we had to have the resources to find out who knew about it, to punish anybody who let out the secret. so of that-- a vast apparatus of surveillance, loyalty tests, classifications clearance, the cia, the nfa, the nfc, and the president was put in an emergency mode at the end of the war as opposed to most. when you want to have people coming home and the normal life resuming. truman kept saying no, we are an emergency, we have to have universal military training, we have to draft the railroad people. we have to seize the steel mills. and when the korean war came along dean achison said, his
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secretary of state, you are the president, you are the only person who can use the atomic bomb, with no check on you, no any kind of congressional oversight. and now that we are going into the war in korea, it's not anatomic war, but you have to protect your absolute power to respond. because after all that was a justification. if we are attacked now in this nuclear era, there won't be time to ask congress anything. either there will be anatomic a tech pending, estimating or occurring and you must retaliate and you don't have time to ask anybody. achison said this not anatomic war. korea is not anatomic war but you have to protect your power to respond absolutely without ever asking anybody. so don't ask congress for any permission at all. and that started the era of presidential wars.
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in which no war was declared after that time by congress which is what the constitution says. >> rose: woferl war ii had been declared. >> yes. >> rose: what is interesting this is, coming out of the development of the manhattan project is more than the korean war, also, was oss became the cia, so that developed in your argument a kind of secrecy and institutions, national security institutions that acted in secrecy. >> yes. the manhattan project was such a success, sur fwrising success a lot of people didn't think it could be done. certainly not be done as fast as it was. and the reason that it could be done so rapidly is that lesley groves, the general in charge was given just autocratic power. he had money that came from nowhere, not from congress, congress knew what, nothing at all about it. vice president truman knew nothing about it when he was vice president or when he was the senate investigating
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the sources. >> rose: it is one of the first things they had to tell him when fdr died. >> yeah, they waited a couple of days. they hit him with that. but grooves had the power to come and ear anybody, material, money, he threatened any physicist or other person who would defect from the project that he would draft them and send them to remote areas. he actually planned assassinations of werner highsenberg, well, he might have something in germany. >> rose: he was a german scientist that was supposedly working on the german project. >> he had his own private air force. he was able to take the best bombers and reconfigure them to fly the things. and have pilots trained without telling them what they were doing. and run mock raids on japan. it was the most amazing
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carte blanche. he was outside the military chain of command. he was outside congressional control. and it worked so well that it was a tremendous temptation to say well this is how you run a nuclear era. >> rose: but your point here is that that ban, that process of accumulating a certain kind of constitutional power in the president, it was only the president had his hand on the nuclear bomb. >> only the executive namely bomb power really went beyond the president. it went out through all of these ancillary agencies, nsa, nsc, cia. and when you had to think of not only protecting the bomb, having a secrecy around it, but deploying it, so we had to have a lot of basis for our strategic air command, keep the bomb in the air constantly. then we had to have the nuclear submarine basis, then we had to have the inter -- >> i don't have any problem with that, do you have any problem with that.
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>> no, i'm just saying that as a matter of fact, out of that power grew this amazing apparatus, worldwide apparatus of we now have 800 basis, military bases. >> rose: right. >> many of them secret. they all came out. >> even in the 21st century you had iraq which there was never a congressional resolution of war. >> there were none of them after world war two, there has not been a decollaration of war since then. the interesting thing is the presidents got so they were declaring war all the time. the congress said wait a minute, let us get in on the action just a little bit, just a little bit. the congress says, the constitution says congress shall have the power to declare war. they had lost that so long ago that they said let's have a war powers act in which we'll share that power. and if the president goes to war, he has to tell us, at least. and then there is a certain prescribed time in which will have to come back to us and say i can keep raging this war or not.
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you know, that was all unconstitutional but it's never been observed even so. there has never been anybody, any president who has reported back according to that rule so this is one of the many ways in which ones this power was established, for the executive, not only for the president. the president in a way is almost as much a victim of this as others because this huge secret apparatus out there, o booma comes in as president and he's criticized of things, extraordinary rendition and torture. >> rose: all the things he criticized during the campaign. >> military tribunals. but of course once he becomes president he realizes we've got more contractors in afghanistan and iraq than military people. this is a vast thing. when we invaded cuba or
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toppled iran, we did it through a lot of soldiers of fortune. thousands of these people around the world. and people come to him and say wait a minute, it took us a long time to build up these assets. and if you undercut their morale or cut them off, they'll start blabing about all the secret things they've done. and you will probably need us somewhere down the road. >> rose: but your criticism now, are you just recognizing a fact or are you saying wait a minute, this is a very troublesome development for america. >> it a very troublesome development. and what happens is that our secrecy has covered up government blunders and crimes and errors more than it has threatened any enemy. and that continues to happen. you knee, eisenhower toppled the iran government. and that brought in our puppet which was overthrown. >> rose: he did it through the cia.
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>> right. which was overthrown. all of our troubles have come from that. so iraq is a great recruiter for the terrorists. afghanistan is a great recruiter. so all of knees things have repercussions that runway beyond the original purpose. >> rose: what would make it right for you having done this study and written this book. >> well that would be very difficult because of course people have tried to do this. the church committee tried to reign in the cia. the war powers tried to reign in the war act. and yet those were overriden. it is extremely hard to change the momentum. perhaps the only way could do t the only way to take away bomb power may be to take away the bombment now that may sound idealistic. >> rose: that is the objective of the number of people including the president. >> not only that, paul-- a great friend of the bomb ended at the end of his life saying it's to the doing a thing for us. it's not keeping us secure
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at all. so perhaps that is the only thing that could reverse this process. >> rose: not only that, you now have a commission with sam nunn and henry kissinger and george schultz who are are trying to in a sense at least draw down the number of we7s that are in the world. >> right, that's the first step. and i think that's the idealistic and the realistic proposal. >> rose: the president, you have come to this program, we've had interested conversations with about the president obama and the cabinet. >> yeah. >> rose: are you disappointed? >> terribly, you know. he came in as the agent of change, in foreign policy he appointed his vice president, his secretary of state, his secretary of defense, all people who voted for or waged the iraq war. that is hardly change. he wanted to take on the banking problems and he appointed geithner and
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summers and bernanke and others who got us into this problem. he wanted to have health care and he consulted from the outset with the ama and the insurance agencies and big pharma. now i suppose some of his thinking must be i am such change. i'm the first black american president. i don't want to scare people. i i want to have some continuity. but talk about continuity. in all these areas, he's had the people who were in charge of the trouble, supposedly getting us out of the trouble. >> rose: and they are pulling back from a decision, on they are going to do, where they aring going to try. >> yeah. >> rose: what does this is a to you, does this is a he is not what you thought he was are he was naive and inexperienced so therefore when he got to washington they rolled over him? >> well, as i say, i think he was more convinced that he needed continuity than he
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had to be. >> the argument is also that he is too much a lawyer, not enough a leader. that is he a constitutional lawyer that sees every side and therefore he's trying to be, the argue goes by those who are analyzing him now one year into office, he is trying to be a konsyl yater and rather than a bold visionary. >> yeah. well, too much a lawyer, a good lawyer knows how to go after the weak points of the other side. and he hasn't shown that. >> rose: so you regret your vote or -- >> no, because the alternative is not very palatable. >> rose: do you think -- >> i like him. i admire him. i hope he will succeed. but i am so disappointed that he threw away a year. he really threw a yeah-- away an entire year. and the entire year that was the best chance for him to work. >> rose: some argue that what he should have done is simply focused on the economy. but the economy is too, you know, we're talking about
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now a 1.6 trillion dollar deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. thinking that is too, that problem needed to be addressed and that his problems come from focus on health care and too many things at one time. do you buy that. >> i if he had focused on the economy and been as nice the bankers, i don't think that would have been an all attorney piv. >> nice to the bankers because he rescued them or because he -- >> without putting restrictions on them. conditions. they should have rescued them and said on these terms. >> rose: but they are greating to that. in other words, they should have made that a condition of accepting the money. >> a year later they are trying to get there. >> rose: trying to create fiscal reform. >> yeah. >> rose: or financial reform. >> yeah. >> rose: and you think it's because too many of the people who are advising him came from -- >> they were hardly the people who are going to hold the banker's feet to the fire. >> rose: you raise the constitutional points they came out of creating this
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national security state. >> when you look, there are argues being made, i ask you because of your own economic background and your curiosity that there is something wrong with the system, that the most t that the best solution whether it is health care or environmental issues doesn't happen because the political structure of washington and also the filibuster rule and things like that. >> rose: yeah. >> that's true to some extent. on the other hand, once you do get a majority you can use a majority if you don't tie your hands with the filibuster rule. certainly congress has been supine, that's been their record for a long time. and once that gets inculcated that once a president stakes a step-- you know, the whole coat of the
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commander and chief, our commander in chief, is part of the commander and chief, it is part of the mystique after the war that that the president once he commits troops you just have to support him. and we have to obey ot canned-- commander in chief. the commander in chief is a historical term. it meant in the british empire when we have a number of admirals in some part of the ocean, then we have to say one of them will be command never chief and that theatre for a certain time it is a temporary geographical term. and it was that up until recently in america. we had think pact commander in chief, think eur and it was rumsfeld who said no, no, we can't do that. we have to take away all those titles, only one command never chief. now the command never chief in the constitution is the civilian command never chief of the military and of the
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militia when called into national service. and during war because they didn't think there would be a peacetime army. so it was a very limited thing. now we are told he's our command never chief. in fact, you remember general haig when he called and said fire archbald cox and saturday night massacre days of the jim council of watergate. and he said no, i'm not going do that, congress didn't want me to do that when they set up this independent council. he said your command never chief has given you an order, you must obey. he is not the commander and chief of him or of any civilian. but when i wrote an op ed piece. >> rose: let me make sure i understand clearly. i'm old enough to remember that. but does not the constitution give the president the power to hire and fire in the executive branch of a government. >> not as command never chief. >> rose: but it is the term that concerns you, not the
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fact that the president doesn't have the power to hire and fire people in the executive branch. >> that is another thing. when the congress sets up agencies, executive agencies, it has the power to oversee them. that was denied by the bush administration under you and others, because they have to have the oversight since they can impeach anybody in the executive. and if they can't examine what is going on, they can't impeach. so the idea that the congress has no say over anybody once they set up an independent agency within the executive, makes no sense. but my argument is that this whole command never chief mystique has grown-up because of the mill tarryization of the president around the president. the perfect example of that is when the president gets off a helicopter or plane now people salute him. marines salute him. >> rose: command never chief. >> he salutes back. that never occurred until ronald reagan.
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eisenhower didn't have that. you know, the president is not a military office. that was proved by a court case in which the defendants of washington appealed to have an exemption from certain things because of his status as a veteran. and the court said the president's not a military office. he's not, he's not paid by the military. he's not subject to court-martial. he's not given a military pension. he's a civilian. and the idea that he should be saluted as if he were a military officer makes no sense. it an exceptional, constitutional office, a civilian in charge of the military in time of war. but only in charge of the military. >> let's reiterate this before we go. and the danger of that is? >> that our general attitude now is that you obey the, our military leader. a republican classical republican attitude is our rulers are responsible to us.
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this is a way of saying we're responsible to him. and we have to obey him, we have to follow him. you can't criticize him. >> rose: where do you see america today? >> well, it's a very mixed bag. i think america is the best hope of the world. and has been for centuries. and its record is extraordinarily good in some ways. for instance, in terms of human rights there has never been a government including ours that is so good on women's rights, minority rights, gay rights, disabled rights, all of those things so that people attack our attitude and say oh, we're too nice to people's human rights. that kind of thing is extraordinary. and we have to be very proud of it. on ther hand, we have allowed the cult of secrecy for one thing. and of government -- so that
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the things that we do supposedly to protect our security, you know, eisenhower toppled the government in iran. that lead to you will a of these repercussions in iran which have got us deeper and deeper and deeper. so when we have an unaccountable executive, that gets us into more trouble than it solves. over and over we have secrecy not to deceive the enemy which is what should be the case. you shouldn't tell the enemy where you are going to attack if are you going it to attackment but when awe tack, you have no longer a reason for secrecy am but now we have secrecy to cover up the blunders and errors in crimes. for instance, my favorite doons burry strip, the original hangs on my wall, is somebody going to a cambodian couple whose home is in ruins and saying what a historic sight this is.
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this is the site of a secret cambodian bombing. and the man says oh, no, it was no secret. i said to martha, see, there are the bombs. it was not a secret to the cambodians. it was a secret to congress, so that they wouldn't cut off this unconstitutional, illegal bombing that he was doing against a country we were not at war with. that is what-- . >> rose: it was also secret about america's-- right t wasn't a secret to the people who were at the plates where the bombs fell. but it, the idea also was to keep it secret because of world opinion. >> well that partly too but of course first you had to get congress blinded and immobilized and paralyzed and that would take care of world opinions opinion. >> if i look at the books you have written about jesus and paul and i look at the books you've written about abraham lincoln and i know of your great interest in
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st. augustine, is there any common denominator other than garry wills curiosity? >> well, i admire human virtue and human courage, wherever it shows up. and we haven't had a lot of that recently. certainly in congress. and i suppose we should not expect that so much from politics, politics is a game of the possibility. >> rose: part of the possible some say. >> yeah. sand so perhaps we should not look there for stellar examples of human excellence. although we can hope. and sometimes it has been flex it has been there with dash on-- washington and lincoln and others but it is often there in people without suppose politics or the government. it's been there in the civil rights movement, in people who are the opposition, the
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loyal opposition. and that's what we really need. we need somebody, we need people who would say enough of war. enough of this idea that we can control the world by being more bellicose than the terrorists. that would be my hope. >> rose: bomb power the modern presidency, and the national security state, garry wills, thank you, as always, great to see you. >> good to see you. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh ♪
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ed mapp grew up going to the movies. i think back on my childhood and remember how important movies were to me. at that time, it was the only way to see the outside world.
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ed decided to be a professor - an expert on the impact of the media. today you have television. people have at least one tv set in their home. whatever messages coming on that screen is being extended to the entire family. now that's awesome. it can be affecting our country and culture for years to come. that's one of the reasons why public television is so important, because it does assume that responsibility. ed included his public television station in his will. consider joining the community of people who want public television to span generations.
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Charlie Rose
WETA February 12, 2010 11:30pm-12:30am EST

News/Business. (2010) Christina Romer, Council of Economic Advisers; Tom Donohue, president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 12, America 9, Christina Romer 4, Cia 4, Washington 4, United States 3, Manhattan 3, Bernanke 2, Ronald Reagan 2, Garry Wills 2, Afghanistan 2, Iran 2, Britain 2, Korea 2, Priority 2, Volker 2, Romer 1, Gary Wills 1, Wayne Gretzky 1, Truman 1
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